Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly promised to help Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev gain access to his homeland after the local Russian authorities twice turned him away on Friday and Saturday, World Bulletin reports.
The former head of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people Mejlis was banned from entering Crimea due to his harsh criticisms of the peninsula's split from Ukraine and annexation by Russia following the results of a March 16 referendum.
On Friday, Jemilev attempted to fly to Simferopol airport from Moscow but had his entry to Crimea refused. The following day he attempted to enter Crimea by land but was stopped again at the border crossing.
Reports stated that Russian Special Forces fired warning shots into the air to disperse thousands of Crimean Tatars who had come to the border to greet Jemilev. Head of Mejlis Refat Chubarov then ordered his people to pull back in order to avoid bloodshed.
After returning to the Ukrainian capital Kiev, Jemilev spoke in an interview to Ukrainian 5 Chanel saying he contacted Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and asked for his help in convincing Russian President Vladimir Putin to lift the ban.
According to Jemilev, Erdogan promised to solve the problem.